Voice Acting for Classic Radio Drama

Meme_Radio_ONLINE_Ad_SFTW-1From Wren: Stories help us understand our world. I imagine that our ancestors, sitting on the ground, may have told a story about the wet substance pouring from the sky, in an effort to explain the mystery of rain. The bedtimes stories that our parents read when we’re young are bonding rituals of wonder and delight. They also teach us what matters in life and how to conduct ourselves. Stories reveal truth and pose valuable questions to ponder as human beings. Stories are in our DNA.

So, how exciting must it have been for our predecessors when radio was invented? Now, families and friends all over the world could gather around the new device to hear tales about all aspects of the human experience: some familiar and some strange. People could ponder worlds that they may never see and meet characters who struggled and triumphed in ways they may never experience, or even find resonance in folks who were just like them. They could laugh and cry and learn more about being human. Listening to radio together created a community of shared imagination. Now, people could forget their troubles and enter a new world — the theater of the mind.

Working on “The Blind Beggar Dies” was a delightful and revelatory team event. Our aim was to take this classic “Shadow” script from the 30’s and find fresh relevance to today’s world. We discovered some remarkable similarities. Not unlike the homeless people who were harassed by the thugs Spike and Marty in the script, there are people in our society today, who are marginalized because they are “other” and may look, pray or love differently from those who seek to bully them. Sadly, bigotry and injustice are still themes very much alive today.

During the workshop, we investigated the psyches of all the characters by walking in their shoes without judgement or prejudice. We created back stories and biographies for parts big or small so that every actor could portray the person with as much authenticity as possible. This enabled the actors playing multiple roles, to know their characters inside and out.

And how fun was it to perform for a live audience at Soundtrack! And how glad we are to share this story with you!

Enjoy the following post with audio, “The Blind Beggar Dies,” from the Shadow Series written by Maxwell Grant.

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